My Best Friend is a Dog!

It goes without saying that the past year has been extremely bizarre, full of upheaval and uncertainty for so many. However, despite the trials and tribulations, animals – particularly dogs – provide a source of support and joy now more than ever. It is no coincidence that dog adoptions have increased, with many people taking advantage of the extended time at home to welcome a new furry friend into their lives by either adopting or fostering them.

As a result, the numbers of dogs in shelters actually decreased during the months of lockdown with people queuing up to take pooches home – a phenomenon that occurred both worldwide and in Israel. Cuddling an adorable creature or having a valid reason to go out and walk them can only be a good thing! Jerusalem Loves Animals, an animal rescue group that doesn’t have a shelter of its own but works to find homes for dogs and cats from the Jerusalem Municipal Shelter (two of my dogs were adopted from here), reported that between 30 and 40 dogs were adopted during the lockdown period, with many dogs being fostered as well.

While fostering is not permanent unless a dog becomes a foster “fail” (as was the case with one of my dogs!), fostering has many benefits for both people and dogs. It is an ideal solution for people who are unable to commit to a dog in the long term or want to foster one before deciding whether to adopt, with the rescue paying for the veterinary care and food. Fostering is also beneficial for canines, as it gets them out of the shelter and gives them an opportunity to get used to living in a home with a family, ultimately increasing their chances of being adopted.

Another Jerusalem-based animal organization that also saw a spike in adoptions during the corona period was the Jerusalem Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA). The JSPCA has a shelter at Atarot that houses both dogs and cats and is normally bursting at the seams. They tend not to offer the opportunity to foster dogs unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as a pup needing to be trained before it can be adopted, but their focus is on getting them adopted.

During the lockdown period, they had 80 adoptions, with people coming from all over Israel to adopt – including from a kibbutz up north. People were able to make an appointment in advance to come and adopt a dog even during the quarantine period. Bar a few days here and there, people were coming to the shelter regularly with a view to adopting. The majority of dogs being adopted were big dogs between the ages of three and five, but so many dogs were adopted in March that the shelter ran out of small dogs to be adopted!

A durable leg protection for dogs is beneficial for the hock skin and might prevent any serious wounds!

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